WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It’s about the hormonal wackiness that goes on at an unsupervised summer camp! The counselors pair up and get sexy, while the manic campers earn a crash course in good-natured raunchiness.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Part dark comedy, part sex farce, part sloppy mess, Daniel Waters’ HAPPY CAMPERS is a cult classic waiting to happen. The first-time director has had an odd career arc, beginning in 1989 when he penned the eternally brilliant HEATHERS before hitting Hollywood to write FORD FAIRLANE, HUDSON HAWK, BATMAN RETURNS and DEMOLITION MAN. After an 8-year hiatus from the movie biz, Waters returns to his original acidic style with this film, which comes off as a funny-yet-unsettling combination of HEATHERS, PORKY'S and MEATBALLS. On a pratfall level, the flick offers a few solid yuks, but the best bits come from the enthusiasm of the colorful young cast. Brad Renfro (Apt Pupil) and Dominique Swain (Lolita) play the summertime “it couple”, and both offer performances that help you overlook the spotty and disjointed plot structure (The film’s glaring weakness is that it barely seems like a story, and more like a collection of generally amusing and intermittently shocking comedy sketches.) Anyone who’s ever been to summer camp remembers that one goofball girl who was positively overflowing with nauseating cheer and “camp spirit” and Swain has a lot of fun creating such a clueless freak.
The painfully beautiful James King (Slackers) is also charming playing a child-like “free spirit” counselor, and Emily Bergl (The Rage: Carrie 2) is fantastic as a rebellious gal nursing a broken heart. In an odd and tiny part, Peter Stormare (Fargo) earns a few giggles as the iron-fisted camp director who ultimately gets whacked by a lightning bolt, and some of the biggest laughs come from the collection of uproariously dirty-minded young campers. HAPPY CAMPERS is a sexy, funny, and entertaining little oddity. Fans of extreme humor (particularly those who’ve spent summers at overnight camp) should find a lot to enjoy, but those looking for PC banality need not apply. It may be a messy and unkempt film, one that has no real ‘target audience’, but those looking for an old-fashioned sex farce with some new-style sensibilities should have a good time.
None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nyet. Donut. Goose Egg. No foolin’. Nary a trailer to be found.
It’s easy to forgive such a bare-boned DVD when the main feature is this bizarrely entertaining. If you’re looking for a raunchy version of Meatballs, here it is.